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Affiliate Managers need to learn how to communicate with their affiliates!

 
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  #1  
Old
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Join Date: April 6th, 2006
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Affiliate Managers need to learn how to communicate with their affiliates!

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Quote:
A message from one of your merchants: The Crab Place
Thank you for adding our products to your site!
* Please remove our brand name from your page titles immediately!
* Please remove our brand name from your page descriptions immediately!
* Please remove our brand name from your page keywords immediately!
Page name is fine...

Failure to remove our brand name from all of your page titles, page descriptions and page keywords will lead to termination from our program.
So after months of emails from The Crab Place about how to promote their products, site SEO, and examples of high converting pages, they were just about to be profiled on my gourmet site. And now this.. seriously..?

My site meta tags are auto-generated.. if I write an article about their products, or mention them in the first few sentences.. well, I guess I won't be writing about them. And I'm leaving the program now.

Will the big coupon sites be terminated..? I see they ALL have "The Crab Place" in the title, description & keywords...
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  #2  
Old
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Join Date: April 6th, 2006
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Ahh, I think this email was JUST for my site..
  #3  
Old
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Send a message via Yahoo to Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound
Like I mentioned in another thread a few days ago, I am sick and tired of merchants treating their affiliates like they are their competitors.
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  #4  
Old
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As an update, I realize this email was just for me... and the fact that I added their datafeed to the (secondary) part of my site. It's a simple database of products used in my own product selection process. This is a new site with very little traffic.

I checked a few other food sites, and found "The Crab Place" in titles and descriptions - will let the AM find them without my help.

Perhaps there was a more pleasant way to reach out to one your new affiliates.
  #5  
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The "other" left wing
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
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They just want to protect their trademark. Affiliates who optimize to rank for the company name as a search keyword do nothing but erode the trademark holder's own marketing efforts and expenses.
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  #6  
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Quote:
Affiliates who optimize to rank for their company name as a search keyword
You don't know anything about my intentions or my site. I have NO intention of optimizing their company name as a search keyword. Auto-generated meta tags provide brand clarity. This isn't scraping, black hat, grey hat, or sketchy tactics. I created a content site with a datafeed component that has standard tags & branding.

My SEO efforts are via content.

Kindly don't judge intent unless you are familiar with the situation.
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  #7  
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The "other" left wing
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I'm not judging intent. There is nothing wrong with or unreasonable about a trademark holder wanting to prohibit affiliates from using their brand name as meta keyword data.
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  #8  
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A merchant can do whatever they like - I agree there - except I found a number of other affiliate sites who do exactly what they asked me to stop "immediately". You can't have it both ways - it's either enforced or its not.

On my non-gourmet site, I work with a number of merchants & brands who receive a positive endorsement from being aligned with my site's brand. This is a new site with no track record or industry reputation, but the developing content should have been clear.

Enforce the rules for everyone.

As an aside, I started this thread before I realized the email was just for my site.
  #9  
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Join Date: November 6th, 2007
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I think there was a better way for the Merchant to communicate their intentions. We're supposed to be their partners, not inmates!
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  #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teezone View Post
As an aside, I started this thread before I realized the email was just for my site.
Seriously? Just for your site? Why?
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  #11  
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Join Date: April 6th, 2006
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I thought the email was a program announcement (so I opened this thread) - and then realized it was a direct message from the merchant (lovely introduction).

There appears to be restrictions to using the datafeed - I had just added the feed, and meta tags are auto-generated. I wasn't even finished...

I don't think they even looked at my content.
  #12  
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There are other programs to work with. Let's talk.
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  #13  
Old
Affiliate Manager
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I don't have a problem with affiliates using my brand in their page titles unless they are being deceptive - say using a title like "Fanatics.com Coupons and Deals" when I don't offer any deals through them. It's click baiting and it's bad customer experience. I actually parted ways with a pretty big affiliate on this issue.
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  #14  
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So let me get this right! You used their datafeed and your site automatically generates meta tags which included the merchants brand name? So they are saying that you are to kill their brand name from an affiliate site that sells their products?
  #15  
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Greg, I think you recently approved the datafeed request for Gourmetspotter - will be in touch if I have any questions, thanks

Being a publisher isn't easy... we can easily spend 100 hours on a site, and get paid zero for our efforts. I always assumed merchants viewed affiliates as partners, but in this case, I was wrong. Instead of reaching out, they chased away a perfectly legitimate publisher whose only interest was promoting their products.

I left the program yesterday.
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  #16  
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Quote:
You used their datafeed and your site automatically generates meta tags which included the merchants brand name? So they are saying that you are to kill their brand name from an affiliate site that sells their products?
Exactly!
  #17  
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Quote:
Being a publisher isn't easy... we can easily spend 100 hours on a site, and get paid zero for our efforts. I always assumed merchants viewed affiliates as partners, but in this case, I was wrong. Instead of reaching out, they chased away a perfectly legitimate publisher whose only interest was promoting their products.

I left the program yesterday.
Edit/Delete Message
In a case like this and since its an isolated issue I would expect that they would ask for a phone call. I see so many AM's that are cowards!
  #18  
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I changed the title with teezone's permission as I want to feature this thread as an example of how not to communication with affiliates. Seems like this continues to be an issue in the industry. Yes affiliates are partners until you talk to them in a condescending attitude then they are adversaries.
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  #19  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
Yes affiliates are partners until you talk to them in a condescending attitude then they are adversaries.
AM's need to figure this part out (not all AM's of course). I know of an affiliate who was trying to reach out to a company they were with, to drive further sales and make them both more money. Company seemed to give a run around, ignored emails, despite having what seemed like a pleasant conversation on the phone. After months of this, the affiliate had a lead get counted twice. Or the affiliate thought so.

Was the AM informed? Of course not, after all the bs the company was giving the affiliate. AM never noticed. And this person would have pointed out the mistake, if they had been treated with some respect by the company.
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  #20  
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I definitely think a call would have been in order to discuss any concerns. The only time I'd have an issue with something like this is if the page title being used was deceptive and creating a bad customer experience by promising something that wasn't there. If that was the case, I'd call the affiliate if I had that info, lay out my concerns and request a change be made. If the affiliate was open to working with me to resolve, there'd be no issue. If not, then we'd both have to look at whether the relationship made sense.

Like I said, I have had this conversation before with a pretty big site that was populating their page titles with "Trademark + Coupons and Deals" knowing that we didn't offer any deals or coupons. They were link baiting and trying to force my hand on giving them a coupon. That relationship wasn't meant to be so we parted ways.
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  #21  
Old
Affiliate Manager
Join Date: March 29th, 2012
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That was certainly a harsh message, whether it be generic or individual. I haven't encountered any problems with publishers yet (though our program is just entering its second quarter), but should something like this arise would it be fair to temporarily disable your program until we could both come to a conclusion about what is acceptable? To further clarify, our TOS does have a section specific to keyword restrictions. Teezone, would you feel this is too dramatic, or would you be understanding? AMs, have you ever taken this course of action?

While it is important for you as the publisher to not be seen as a competitor, I can see why the merchant felt so strongly about the tags for traffic reasons. It's a very tough situation for me, because I also agree that you're trying to give the merchant a positive reputation. There's a 50/50 chance of working with very legitimate and considerate publishers, and tag-hungry affiliates.
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  #22  
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Affiliate Manager
Join Date: July 28th, 2008
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I'm sure the merchant could have phrased their request in a friendlier tone. One thing I learned from a customer service training I attended years ago is that we always have to work at keeping good relations with our customers and the people we work with in the business. In this case, merchants/affiliate managers need to communicate with their affiliates the same way they do with their customers.

Have a good day!
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  #23  
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The "other" left wing
Join Date: January 18th, 2005
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Quote:
should something like this arise would it be fair to temporarily disable your program until we could both come to a conclusion about what is acceptable?
If your published terms prohibit a certain practice to begin with, it's fair to terminate violators without notice and without ceremony; you have already "communicated" what is acceptable and what is not acceptable right up front. If somebody doesn't think your rules are fair, they should not sign up for your program.

If terms are changed somewhere along the line to start prohibiting certain practices, then it's fair to give notice and to terminate violators if they're still doing what's not allowed after fair notice has been given.
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  #24  
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Quote:
but should something like this arise would it be fair to temporarily disable your program until we could both come to a conclusion about what is acceptable?
That would be unacceptable.. merchants fail to realize the work involved in maintaining a publisher's site.. why not allow the links to stay while it's being resolved??

As a further update, I just read the program terms - nowhere does it state the above tags are disallowed. It did state, however, that
Quote:
"NO COUPON SITES ALLOWED
NO use of "Crab Place Coupons" as your sites page title."
Yeah, I found plenty of those in google... wonder why they aren't told to remove the name "immediately"...

The bottom line here is the merchant chose to communicate in a hasty and impersonal manner. My site is not some basic blog cobbled together overnight.. this project has been in development for a while, and original content is being added almost daily. It takes time to add merchants, and I would have expected more here. I might be new to this particular niche, but if someone had time to fire off a crappy note, they also had time to politely enquire how the store would be promoted on my site.

And by the way, I also expect a level playing field. Merchants can't have two sets of rules..
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  #25  
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Beachy
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Quote:
Merchants can't have two sets of rules..
Unfortunately, they can and (many) do.
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